ALLEN, Texas – The Allen Americans reduced their training camp roster by three yesterday with the release of forwards Jared Bethune, Colton Heffley, and Patrick Watling. Seeing these players released is a reminder of just how competitive roster spots are with so few ECHL teams playing this season. All of these players are talented and will hopefully find a place to play but it won’t be easy.
– You might expect the tryout players to be the first released but often times there are other issues that influence who gets released when. If you are going to get released the sooner the better as you have more time to find another team. Coach Steve Martinson told me he released these players early after he saw the market being flooded with players from Idaho, Cincinnati and Kalamazoo. While options are somewhat limited, I have seen agents looking for players to go overseas. For instance, the top professional league in Great Britain (EIHL) had suspended their season but recently received an infusion of over five million dollars to restart the season. Maybe some of the guys can find spots overseas.
– As for the three tryout players, forward Larry Yellowknee has already left camp, defenseman Dugie Lagrone is a local guy and not staying in the team apartments so he should be with the team through Wednesday when the opening day roster is due. The third tryout player, forward Jake Gricius, has impressed in training camp as evidenced by the fact that three other forwards have been cut and he is still around. It will be an uphill battle for sure but Gricius still has a shot to make the opening day roster.
– The Americans will add another player from the San Jose organization today as rookie forward Jake McGrew, a sixth-round draft choice of the Sharks in 2017, arrives in Allen. Will have a complete profile on McGrew tomorrow.
– Here is the updated roster with the changes from above included. The roster shows two goalies, seven defensemen and 16 forwards. In parenthesis is the type of contract, 2019-20 team, nationality, and age.
C.J. Motte (ECHL, Coventry Blaze, USA, 28)
Zach Sawchenko (AHL, San Jose Barracuda, CAN, 22)
Phil Beaulieu* (AHL, Northern Michigan University, USA, 25)
Ben Carroll* (ECHL, Allen Americans, CAN, 25)
Cole Fraser (ECHL, Allen Americans, CAN, 21)
Nolan Kneen* (ECHL, Saskatoon Blades, CAN, 21)
Les Lancaster (ECHL, Stockton Heat, USA, 25)
Turner Ottenbreit (ECHL, Iowa Wild, CAN, 23)
Matt Register** (AHL, Iowa Wild, CAN, 31)
Spencer Asuchak** (ECHL, Allen Americans, CAN, 29)
Corey Durocher (ECHL, Allen Americans, CAN, 28)
Zane Franklin* (ECHL, Kamloops Blazers, CAN, 21)
Joseph Garreffa* (AHL, Ottawa 67’s, CAN, 21)
Jake Gricius* (Tryout, Portland Winterhawks, USA, 21)
Kameron Kielly* (AHL, University of Prince Edward Island, 23)
Samuel Laberge (ECHL, Sorel-Tracy Eperviers, CAN, 23)
Josh Lammon (ECHL, Allen Americans, USA, 25)
Alex Lavoie (ECHL, Frisk Asker, CAN, 28)
Corey Mackin (ECHL, Reading Royals, USA, 25)
Jake McGrew* (NHL, Spokane Chiefs, USA, 21)
Jesse Mychan (AHL, Esbjerg Energy, CAN, 28)
Tyler Sheehy (AHL, Allen Americans, USA, 25)
Braylon Shmyr (ECHL, Guildford Flames, CAN, 23)
Dyson Stevenson** (ECHL, Utica Comets, CAN, 27)
Jared Van Wormer (ECHL, Allen Americans, USA, 28)
News and Notes
– As I reported yesterday at least three of the remaining five teams (Cincinnati, Fort Wayne, Idaho, Kalamazoo, Toledo) that have not announced if they are playing next season have made the decision to opt-out. While it has not been officially announced, Idaho, Cincinnati, and Kalamazoo have reportedly made the decision to opt-out, with Fort Wayne and Toledo targeting a February start. Some former Allen players impacted by these three teams opting out include Chris Crane (Cincinnati), Colby McAuley (Idaho), and Jake Hildebrand (Kalamazoo).
– Some former Allen Americans are looking for jobs after being released by their ECHL teams yesterday. Defenseman Theo Calvas was released by Florida and goalie Evan Weninger was released by Greenville.
– Daniel Leavens continues to lead the former Allen players in scoring. Leavens is playing in Norway and has 22 points (10G, 12A) in 17 games. Chad Costello, who is in the same league as Leavens, has 14 points (5G, 9A) is 11 games.
– Here is a good breakdown of the Iowa Wild depth chart for goalies and defensemen. Obviously, a lot of these players are intertwined with the Allen Americans roster both now and in the future. Worth the read: https://www.iowawild.com/news/detail/the-wild-wire-defense-goaltending-depth-chart
Did You Know?
The Allen Americans open the 2020-21 season on Saturday in Tulsa. It will be the third time in franchise history the Americans will open against the Oilers but the first time on the road. Here are the results of the two times Allen has opened the season against Tulsa, both games forgettable but memorable.
2011-12 – Allen opened at home against Tulsa and got beat 4-1. Jim McKenzie scored the Americans only goal with just over a minute left in the game. Most notable in that game was a Gordie Howe hat trick by Tulsa’s Gary Steffes who had a goal, an assist and a fight with Allen’s Scott Langdon.
2014-15 – The worst opening night ever for Allen as they opened at home and got beat by Tulsa 9-6. Greger Hanson was the lone bright spot for Allen with a whopping 11 shots on goal, four points, and a hat trick. Aaron Dell was in goal for the Americans and gave up seven of the nine goals. Whatever happened to that Dell guy? Actually, it was Dell’s only regulation loss in the 12 games he played for Allen that season. By the end of January, he was in the AHL on his way to the NHL.
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